It's not controversial to say that D.C. United has some serious work to do this winter - in nearly every aspect of "being a soccer team." Here in the imaginary world where the writers and readers of Black & Red United have any say at all in how United's front office will approach their hefty to-do list, we take our duty very seriously. Which is why we're opening up the very first step in tackling this winter's many tasks to you, the B&RU readership.
Today, we take on an exercise in list making and ranking. I've started the list, but feel free to add your own pet items to see where the community rates your priorities. For everything already on the list, vote it up or down Reddit style, and we'll see where things stand when we revisit the list next week. For all our sake, let's keep things based in reality, so no "sign Messi" or, given what we know about the ownership's plans, "fire Olsen and Kasper" additions to the list, please.
Here are the opening options (there very well could be more by the time you read this):
- Goal-scoring striker: We're not talking Lionard Pajoy or Rafael, here. Conor Doyle is a nice addition, but the just-barely-22-year-old has still got some improving to do before he's the kind of guy you can build an entire attack around. And after seeing what starting the season with a project and a stopgap at the #9 position, the finished article the kind of player we need going into next year.
- Organizing, lock-down center back: United's defensive record this year pretty well speaks to this need all on its own. Last year, especially in the late-season unbeaten run, Brandon McDonald managed to do the thinking for defensive partner Dejan Jakovic. When B-Mac regressed this year, D.C. didn't have another guy who could make sure everybody knew exactly what they needed to do and where they needed to be. Tragicomedy and shambles ensued.
- Starting fullbacks on both sides: Chris Korb is another player who took a step back in 2013, and veteran James Riley showed why he'd been riding the bench at so many MLS teams over the last few years. Dennis Iapichino has some very interesting skill on that left side, but his defense isn't exactly the part of his game that shines brightest. None of them quite stepped up to the level of Andy Najar and 2012-vintage Korb; that's the level of play on both sides of the ball that we want going forward.
- Starting competition/depth everywhere: In 2012, United were essentially two-deep at every position on the field, and when one guy went down injured another could step right in without a massive drop in quality. And when somebody irreplaceable fell out of the lineup, the rest of the team had the quality to adapt to new tactics because of the depth. This year's D.C. side was lacking in this department, and the flaw needs to be fixed.
- Improved international scouting: Kurt Morsink - at least by himself - clearly isn't cutting it. Rafael, Marcos Sanchez and Raphael Augusto all came and went in roughly the last year. Before that Branko Boskovic and Hamdi Salihi both joined the teams on big contracts only to fall quickly to Ben Olsen's bad side. While it's all well and good to build a core of young, inexpensive American talent, in MLS you still need game-breakers to be successful. United don't have enough, and those we have haven't come from abroad in entirely too long.
Enough exposition, let's vote:
And, of course, have it out in the comments over how you ranked the priorities.
More from Black And Red United:
- Episode 53: Nobody can remember when a team playing 2-3-5 lost
- D.C. United to play Malmo FF and other international teams during the 2014 preseason
- Fantasy Focus: Kofi Corner
- MLS final week playoff scenarios and cheering guide for D.C. United fans
- The Last Word: D.C. United's Road to Nowhere Ends at Sporting Park